A Potter’s Vessel

Volume Two of the Secession Trilogy

The national crisis that erupted in Born Blind intensifies as Tennessee’s petition to withdraw from the Union goes to trial before the Supreme Court. The president and the congress strive to pre-empt the court’s verdict ahead of the elections of 1860.  Does the Constitution dictate that the votes of only five justices can validate Tennessee’s withdrawal?  Or does the vote of the people and the congress trump the power of the judiciary? 

The Scott brothers and their blind slave Gamaliel now operate at the highest levels of government in Washington City and Nashville.  Jerald counsels the president and congress to take up their constitutional tools to oppose secession.  Lee joins Tennessee and the gulf coastal states as they plot to secede without judicial approval or legislative consent.  Gamaliel urges the supreme court justices to acknowledge the Constitution’s flaws even as he challenges the Republican presidential nominee to emancipate his race.

Every check and balance crafted into the Constitution is employed by the competing forces.  Did the wisdom of the founding fathers enable the states to resolve their differences peaceably under the rule of law?  Or did their compromises ensure that this constitutional case will be tried on the battlefield?